What is the Difference Between OneDrive Sync and Full Cloud Backup?

Microsoft OneDrive is a cloud service provided by Microsoft that allows you to sync files across different devices and teams. It’s a versatile tool that can be used as a sync service.

There are significant differences between OneDrive sync and full cloud backup. This common confusion can often leave businesses at risk of losing data. 

In this article, we’ll explore the differences to help you determine what your business needs to keep it safe and functioning. 

Backup vs Sync

At a basic level, the difference between backup and sync lies in the purpose of each operation. A backup is a safety copy of your data stored in a separate location (like a cloud storage service). 

It’s a true backup solution that keeps your data safe in case of accidental deletion, hardware failure, or other disasters.

On the other hand, sync, or synchronisation, is about keeping files updated across multiple devices and enabling you to share files and data with your team without having multiple versions. 

If you change a file on one device, the sync service will update the file for all team members and all devices connected to the same account. The OneDrive sync client is an application that manages this process.

Full Cloud Backup

Full cloud backup involves storing a copy of your files on a separate 3rd party backup solution, independent from Microsoft. 

It provides a separate copy of your data that can be used to restore files if needed. It will allow you to back up everything from your desktop, emails, documents, photos, and videos. 

Most backup solutions also offer incremental backup, which updates files as changes are made. This means should a file be accidentally deleted or become corrupted, you can go back into the cloud backup system and retrieve the latest version before the problem occurred. 

It’s like having a spare hard drive in the cloud. If you’re using OneDrive sync, you will still want to consider a third-party backup solution.

OneDrive sync vs full cloud backup
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

OneDrive Sync

The OneDrive sync feature, on the other hand, is about keeping your files up-to-date for all team members and across all your devices. It makes collaborating across teams easy, particularly for remote teams and those based in different locations. 

OneDrive for business also requires Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) or Multifactor Authentication, which means it requires users to provide two factors of authentication to gain access. This extra layer of security means it benefits from being GDPR compliant. 

When you install the OneDrive sync app and add your OneDrive account, any files you place in the OneDrive folder on your device will be synced to the cloud. If you change these files on one device, the changes will be reflected on all other devices where you’re signed in to OneDrive, it will also update files and documents for your team.

The interface of the OneDrive sync client is designed to make this process easy. You can choose which folders you want to sync and even change the folder location if you want to. The OneDrive sync client will then sync the files automatically.

OneDrive Sync and Full Cloud Backup: The Differences

So, what’s the difference between OneDrive sync and full cloud backup? While both involve storing files on the cloud, they serve different purposes and work differently.

Cloud backup is about creating a separate, secure copy of your files for disaster recovery. It’s a one-way process from your device to the cloud.

On the other hand, OneDrive sync is a two-way process that keeps your files updated across multiple devices. Changes made on one device will be reflected on all others.

It’s important to note that while OneDrive sync can help keep your files accessible and updated, it’s not a true backup solution. If you accidentally delete a file or a file becomes corrupted, those changes will be synced, potentially leading to data loss.

The biggest danger with OneDrive sync is computer viruses. If you or one of your team picks up a virus, this can also sync to the OneDrive cloud and be distributed to all synced devices. 

That’s why it’s recommended to use a backup solution in addition to sync services. If any of your files are affected, you will still have a version safely stored in the cloud. 

Steps to Set Up OneDrive and Backup

Setting up OneDrive sync is straightforward. First, you’ll need to install the OneDrive app on your device. Then, sign in with your Microsoft account. You can choose which folders you want to sync. 

When it comes to backup, choosing a third-party backup solution provides more robust protection, with features like automated and scheduled backups, extended data retention, and quick data recovery. 

Cons of OneDrive

While OneDrive is a powerful tool, it’s not without its drawbacks. One potential issue is that it relies on an internet connection. If you’re in a location with poor or no internet, you can only access files already synced, and the update of this file to your team will be delayed.

As we previously mentioned, it could also spread a virus across devices. Additionally, while OneDrive offers a generous amount of storage, it’s not unlimited. If you have a large amount of data, you may need to pay for additional storage.

To Backup or Sync?

We always recommend you backup your files on an independent cloud backup solution, whether you need to sync your files on different devices or not. This will give you a secure, separate copy of your files for disaster recovery. 

If you’re looking for a way to keep your files updated across multiple devices, OneDrive sync is the way to go. Combining both will provide the most comprehensive protection for your data.

At Kingstar Services, we understand the importance of keeping your data safe and accessible. Whether you need help setting up OneDrive sync or are looking for a more robust backup solution, our team of IT professionals is here to assist.

Contact us today to learn how we can help you secure your Microsoft 365 data.

Article authored by Laura Bean Creative Little World


Philip Gilkes

My aim and mission are to provide a personal level of service that keeps your tech running correctly and helps your business thrive.

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